What is a dab rig?
If you’re new to the 710 community, you may look at a dab rig and assume it works just like a bong. While dab rigs and glass bongs do have a similar appearance and features, the process of smoking concentrates is a lot more complicated than simply packing a bowl and lighting up some flower. There are many different types of cannabis concentrates such as wax, budder, shatter, rosin, crumble, and oil. All of them require much higher temperatures to vaporize than dry herb, thus requiring specialized tools and equipment. Dab rigs and bongs share the same designs and functions like a water chamber, percolators, an ice catcher, recyclers, a neck, and a mouthpiece. They also come in a variety of sizes just like water bongs, however smaller dab rigs seem to work better and produce more flavorful dabs than larger sizes. Where bongs and dab rigs differ is the receptacle used to hold the smoking material and the process of lighting up.
Instead of your normal bong bowl that is packed with flower and lit from the top with a typical gas station lighter, dab rigs utilize a specialized “dab bowl” of sorts called a dab nail or banger. These come in a few different styles and can be made from heat-safe borosilicate glass, quartz, titanium, or ceramic. Like glass bowls, dab nails also have a joint that fits directly into the bong or dab rig’s downstem. To use a dab rig, the banger needs to be heated with a powerful scorch torch prior to adding any concentrates. When the heated banger hits the optimal temperature, the wax concentrates are stirred around the bottom of the banger until it is vaporized. The vapor makes its way through the dab rig and is filtered and cooled as it passes through the water in the main chamber making it more comfortable on the inhale. Even if you have experience using a water pipe, mastering the art of dabbing with a proper dab rig does come with a learning curve. This is because you’ll need to know how to dose dabs and understand the heating and cooling cycles to hit the right temperature for tasty low temp dabs. As you can see, both types of glassware are similar with the key difference being a bowl vs a banger. So, how do you dab with a bong if you don’t have a dab rig? Simple. Since the body itself is identical, it’s possible to easily make a homemade oil rig for dabs using a water bong you already own and adding a dab nail in place of a bowl.
How to dab with a bong
Are you trying to figure out how to take a dab with a bong? It’s actually a lot easier than you may think. Almost all types of bongs work just as great as a dab rig. That means it’s time to search your closet for that old water pipe and get ready to dab! All you need to do is swap out the bong bowl designed for dry herb with a dab nail such as a quartz banger or titanium nail that can withstand the cycles of very high and low temperatures needed to dab concentrates. Keep in mind that smaller bongs are better than big bongs when it comes to turning them into dab rigs. Anything under roughly 15-inches works great for dabbing and will preserve the flavor and potency while allowing the vapor to have a chance to cool down before being inhaled. When choosing a dab nail or asking a friend to borrow their banger to use on your water pipe, be sure to check the joint size and type (male or female). The joint size of the dab nail is measured in millimeters and needs to be compatible with the joint size of your bong. The most common joint sizes are 14 mm and 18 mm, though you’ll occasionally come across 10 mm joints, but they aren’t as popular. In addition to the size, check to see if your bong has a male or female joint. The dab nail needs to be the opposite gender (and the same size joint) for a perfect fit. Now that you know a bit about the items you need, we’ll guide you through the process and provide a list of the necessary equipment needed to dab if all you have is a water bong.
- Water bong
- Compatible dab nail or banger
- Carb cap
- Dab tool
- Scorch torch
- Cannabis concentrate
- Optional: Dab pad, dab storage container
How to dab with a bong step-by-step
- Start by removing the bong bowl and replacing it with a compatible dab nail. Fill the main chamber of the dab rig with just enough water to cover any percolators on the inside of the rig. Inhale through the mouthpiece to test if any water reaches your mouth. If it does, dump some out so that your dabs stay dry.
- Now that your dab rig setup is complete with a dab nail in place of the bong bowl, prepare a dab using your dab tool to maneuver the concentrate. It’s best to do this first, prior to heating up the banger.
- Using the scorch torch, begin heating the dab nail until it becomes cherry red. This should take roughly 30 to 40 seconds. Once you have a hot nail, turn off the torch and set it aside. Wait roughly 45 to 60 seconds for the dab nail to cool off a bit. You want to aim for around 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for flavorful low temperature dabs that won’t burn off any cannabinoids or terpenes. It will take some trial and error to figure out the optimal temperature to use for the best wax vapor, least amount of waste, and a great smoking experience. At first, it’s a good idea to write down the heating and cooling times used and adjust in very small increments of just a few seconds. Only two or three seconds of extra cooling time can make a world of a difference in the flavor and quality of your dab.
- Start dabbing by using the dab tool with the pre-dosed concentrate and touching it to the hot nail. When the wax starts to heat up and vaporize, cover the banger with your carb cap. A carb cap allows you to precisely control the airflow so there’s less wasted concentrate and more wax vapor. It’s one of the most important dabbing accessories if you want to get the absolute most out of your cannabis.
- You’ve done it! Once the carb cap is in place, give it a slow inhale through the mouthpiece to draw the vapor up through the dab rig. Hold, exhale, and let your worries melt away.
How to make a gravity bong with a dab pen
No bong or oil rig in sight? Try making a gravity bong or shall we say gravity dab rig using a dab pen to create an easy to use e-nail with no open flame. If you missed out on those awkward collage days of making homemade bongs and doing diy dabs, let’s get you up to speed. A gravity bong works by pulling air up through the device creating suction, sort of like an artificial inhale that draws the vapor or smoke from the bowl, quartz banger, or e-nail into the chamber. A dab pen is a type of vaporizer that uses oil, wax, or other types of concentrates and electronically heats it using a heating element such as a coil. Dab pens are portable, discreet, convenient, and require no additional tools or an open flame making them a great choice for a gravity bong!
- Big receptacle like a bucket or large bowl
- Plastic water bottle with cap that fits inside the large bowl
- Dab pen
- Screwdriver or hole punch
Steps to make a gravity bong with a dab pen
- Remove the plastic bottle cap and make a hole in the center using a screwdriver, drill, or hole punch. The hole needs to be large enough to securely fit the mouthpiece of the dab pen. If you make the hole too large, the bong won’t work, so start small.
- Cut off and discard the bottom of the plastic bottle so it’s open on one end and replace the cap with the hole in it. Place the dab pen mouthpiece into the hole. Be careful that the concentrate doesn’t leak out from the vape cart or clog the mouthpiece. This can happen with repetitive use of the vaporizer when upside down, so stop between hits to check it.
- Fill up the bucket with water almost to the top and push the plastic bottle with the dab pen down so that at around ¾ of the bottle is submerged. Don’t let the water get too close to the mouthpiece of the vape.
- Turn on the dab pen and when prompted that it’s ready to hit, begin to slowly lift up the plastic water bottle from the water. This creates a slight suction and pull on the dab pen, which should start to fill up the bottle with vapor. Once the bottle is full, carefully lift it out of the water, remove the vaporizer, twist off the cap, and inhale the smoke inside the bottle. Depending on the size of the bottle used, you can get giant rips of silky smooth vapor.
- Before doing another dab, check that the concentrate or vape cart didn’t leak and that the dab pen isn’t overheating. All you need to do is replace the wax pen and bottle cap and you’re ready for round two!
How to dose dabs
Since cannabis concentrates have a unique appearance and contain approximately 80% THC or higher, which is much more potent than dry herb, it can be challenging to know exactly how to dose dabs. With a concentrate, a little goes a very long way and it’s easy to over do it. The proper dose depends on a range of factors including tolerance, gender, weight, and more, making it dependent on each individual. To prepare a DIY dab at home, use a dab tool to scoop away a piece that’s roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen to start (yes, that small!). This will be challenging at first since a container of concentrates from the dispensary typically comes in half gram or one gram sizes. If it’s your first time dabbing concentrates, it’s better to go smaller than take a dab that’s too big, which can lead to some unpleasant effects. The average size of a dab for a seasoned concentrate user is around 25 mg of THC, which is roughly the size of a small grain of rice.